I’m really enjoying the responses that I’ve gotten so far from part 1 of my Tips for Planning A Nigerian Wedding. In fact, a lot of you have shared equally, if not more frustrating experiences about your encounters with various vendors. Leave a comment below with your own stories. Terrible as it sounds, not going to lie that it feels good to know that I’m not alone in this. Misery loves company eh? Let’s continue.
It’s possible [read: more than likely] that patience isn’t my strong suit. But trust me when I say that my tolerance levels increased in the year it took to plan our wedding. Not buying it? Just look at how I responded to the
I’ll be honest, if the designer incident happened a few months earlier, I would have called her up and said some things that no parent would be proud of. And in my blind rage, I probably would have forgotten to use my calling card – damn international calling! But would I care? Nope.
Except that my next phone bill would be sky-high.
So I’d have to call the phone company to beg for discount by explaining the story of my experience with that rude, nobody-will-ever-know-her-brand designer and her lack of good sense and basic customer service skills.
I’m not salty, I swear. What was I even talking about again?
Right, I have patience.
Tips For Planning A Nigerian Wedding Part 2
6. Without patience, frustration will be your close companion.
Remember at the end of my last post when I said I cried on my wedding day because of my makeup? I wasn’t lying.
It was the morning of my traditional ceremony and the makeup artist came early – thank God, because if she came late that would have been another matter. My traditional outfit was all white and I knew exactly how I wanted my makeup to look – soft and natural. I told her this and even hinted [read: repeatedly stated aloud] how I don’t like loud eye shadow and super long lashes.
As her predecessor did, she nodded and said ‘okay, no problem’.
Then she proceeded to put RED, GOLD and ORANGE GLITTER on my eyes.
But that was only the beginning. She brought out the longest eyelashes I have ever seen, and if that wasn’t enough, she DOUBLED them for “maximum volume”.
You’d think it couldn’t get any worse, huh? Just wait for it.
When I called her attention to the fact that she was doing the exact opposite of what I requested, she said boldly:
“Don’t worry, you will like it.”
At that point I was already frustrated, time was going and I wasn’t about to show up to my wedding looking like ayamatanga (evil masquerade) so I told her to wipe it all off and start again. A normal person would think that would be the end of the matter, but don’t get me started on the 4-shades-too-light foundation she started to use.
So I cried. Because what else?
Best Practice: Start watching makeup tutorials on YouTube TODAY. You never know when your skills will be needed.
7. To Kill or Not to Kill over Aso Ebi Colors?
If I were to rank the aspects of a Nigerian wedding according to their importance from the most to the least important, it would look something like this:
- Parents of the bride and groom – it’s their day after all
- Aso-ebi (clothes of the family & friends)
- Venue and Decor
- Bride and sometimes Groom
When we started planning the wedding, we had specific aso ebi colors in mind. General aso ebi – baby pink; bride and groom’s friends – turquoise.
Note to self: Specific + Planning a Nigerian Wedding = excellent recipe for headache.
Obviously, nothing went according to plan. General aso ebi was fuchsia, my girls wore lavender and bae’s guy friends wore navy and baby blue.
Best Practice: For the most part, you will still be okay if you don’t get the colors/fabric you chose. That’s right, say it with me “I. Will. Be. Okay.”
Or maybe you won’t. Throw a fit and see how it goes.
8. Not every time “bespoke”
Before giving up and deciding to buy bridesmaids dresses, I initially planned on going the bespoke route. After all, if the outfits are not bespoke, your marriage is invalid right?
So my bridesmaids and I called up some popular designers to get quotes. Of course, because of the ridiculous prices, we usually hung up mid conversation. In fact one designer quoted N120,000 ($603 USD) per bridesmaid. As in, for ONE dress than will be worn ONCE on a day that’s NOT even her wedding.
You think I’m exaggerating? I have still have the email and sometimes I read it for a good laugh.
After much frustration, I said to my girls, let’s be budget friendly and find an unknown designer – a.k.a. tailor – to sew these dresses. How complicated can it be?
We sent the tailor a picture and his peers in the makeup industry do, he said ‘okay, no problem‘ and we paid a deposit.
P.S. Wouldn’t you’d think at this point, I’d have been wise to avoid anyone that said “okay, no problem”? Now that I think about it, I’m wondering if maybe I am the problem.
The result? This is what we wanted vs. what we got:
Best Practice: If no one wants to shell out the cash for custom-made outfits, save yourselves the trouble and buy instead. If you do your research, you’ll always find something within price range.
9. Not-so-special effects
Take a moment to imagine your first dance with bae. Do you see the dry ice fog at your feet? Perhaps indoor fireworks? Romantic mood lights? I saw all that too.
Minus the fireworks. Have you watched videos on fireworks gone wrong? Yeah, I’ll pass.
We asked for dry ice and mood lights to create a romantic setting for our first dance. According to the company in charge, everything was set up and good to go on D-day and I was giddy with excitement for that moment. But alas, who was to know that to keep the reception hall cool, air conditioners would have to be turned on? Who could have known that these air conditioners would blow the fog off the floor? That instead of a romantic fog on the floor, there would be a huge wall of white smoke looming over us like a ghost while we danced?
The logistics team. That’s who should have known.
But it was okay though. In that moment, I was having too much fun to really care.
Best Practice: As much as possible, do a run through of the day with your planning team. Even though they are (or should be) professionals, they might miss a few things that you will pick up. But if your special effects don’t go according to plan, fret not, the fact that you and bae are together in that moment is special enough.
10. Not story, just useful tips:
A) Once you’ve set your wedding date, book your honeymoon!
Like before you start planning anything. Do it! If not, I hope you both enjoy looking at destination magazines and stalking travel blogs from the comfort of your home. Because for some (very explainable) reason, as the wedding gets closer, funds get tighter. Something always comes up that needs to be paid for and honeymooning might become less of a priority.
B) Still on money, budget wisely.
I know you want a nice wedding, but don’t let it be at the expense of your future home. No point having a fabulous day only to go back home to soak garri everyday to pay off the wedding. Ditch the credit cards/loans and spend in CASH. If you can’t afford it, you don’t need it. Seriously. I saw a pair of shoes that I reallllyyyyy wanted to wear, but they were so expensive and there were other things that needed to be paid for. I’m glad I stuck to these principles because no one even saw the shoes I wore hidden under all that material.
C) Be thankful.
To your parents and new in laws, to your bridal party, to your family and friends coming from all over the world just for you. Without their support, your special day won’t be as special. Honestly. My mom turned into a lioness when I cried over my makeup and at the end of the day, I was extremely happy. Thanks ma. My aunts and uncles were there to back me up and support me whenever I had an issue in planning. My siblings & cousins were forever making me laugh. My bridal party was [and still are] the best in the world, I don’t remember lifting a finger for anything. And I can’t thank enough those who simply showed up to support.
D) You & Bae are on the same team
You likely have different personalities and approaches to things, but don’t let it get in the way of your bond. After all, you’re working towards the same goals right? If you’re not, I think there are deeper issues to discuss. Shoot me an email. But if you are, always take a step back from the situation to get a better perspective. Pick your battles because some things are not worth arguing about.
E) Never underestimate the power of a simple prayer
Things go wrong all the time, as you can probably tell from my experiences. But if you ask me how it all went, I’ll always say I had the time of my life. Because whenever something was going wrong – from needing money to finding the right shoes – I was always a simple prayer away from the solution. Whether you believe it or not, it works.
Well that’s it for now. I hope you enjoyed and learned from my stories and drama. Don’t forget to share your own experiences in the comment section blow or email me! I’d love to hear them all.